Potbelly is expanding its shop footprint rapidly, and Central Arkansas is now in line for significant growth. 

The company announced today a multi-unit franchise deal for Central Arkansas with Ryan Hamra, Potbelly’s existing franchisee with two shops in Little Rock, and his business partner Cody McPherson. This exciting deal will bring five new Potbelly shops to neighborhoods across the mid-section of the state and one new shop to Jonesboro in the northeast corner of the state. The first shop in this agreement is expected to open within the next 12 months. 

“We’re thrilled to expand our presence in Arkansas. Supporting this growth is a fantastic opportunity for us to continue building and serving our loyal fan base,” says Lynette McKee, Senior Vice President of Franchising at Potbelly. “We’ve already built a loyal following in Little Rock with a great operator in Ryan. We have confidence in him and Cody as they continue to develop the Potbelly brand in the state.” 

With more than 20 years in the foodservice industry, having worked for and owned multiple restaurants, Hamra is well equipped to expand his Potbelly restaurant portfolio in the state. After serving his country in the U.S. Air Force, McPherson became a franchisee of Crumbl Cookies in Arkansas, and now adds Potbelly to his list of achievements.   

“I’ve loved Potbelly sandwiches from the time I had my first bite, and I’m happy to be able to expand and share the experience with more fans in Arkansas. My nearly 10 years with the brand has proven the longevity of the concept,” says Hamra. “We are excited to bring these shops to Arkansas given the consumer appeal regionally, and we’re committed to delivering exceptional experiences in these communities,” added McPherson. 

This announcement comes at a pivotal time for the brand, with approximately 100 locations committed and under development across the United States.  

In Florida alone, there are close to 50 locations in development. During the past year, the brand has finalized multi-unit agreements with five franchise groups to develop shops in six critical regions: Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers, Broward County, Gainesville and Panama City. 

Additionally, Potbelly recently signed a 27-shop agreement in Maryland to expand with its founder and former CEO Bryant Keil. Expansion has also extended to New York, where United One Group signed an agreement for 13 new shops and the refranchising of eight existing locations. 

Looking ahead, Potbelly is committed to further growth in attractive, available markets across the nation. The iconic brand is prioritizing expansion with accomplished restaurant owner/operator groups. 

As Potbelly continues to attract multi-unit franchise groups, ideal candidates should be able to meet the required financial criteria, have restaurant operations experience, strong entrepreneurial skillsets, focused problem-solving skills, and enjoy working with others. Qualified franchise candidates can benefit from the sandwich concept’s flexible shop designs, including inline, endcap, drive-thru and non-traditional locations, which are equipped with tech-enabled enhancements to foster in-shop, take-out and delivery dining. These factors, along with a diverse menu and multiple revenue streams stemming from various dayparts, all make Potbelly an attractive franchise restaurant investment.  

Potbelly has a long-term goal of reaching 2,000 shops over the next 10 years, with at least 85% of those locations being franchised, as part of the company’s Franchise Growth Acceleration Initiative with initial growth targets in the Midwest and Southeast. 

Emerging Concepts, Fast Casual, Franchising, News, Potbelly Sandwich Shop